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Heart Month

    February is American Heart Month and a good time to remind the increasing number of heart patients in Bedford and surrounding area that they are not alone in their recovery. Mended Hearts, affiliated with the American Heart Association, is a national nonprofit organization offering the gift of hope to heart patients, their families and caregivers for more than 50 years.

    Mended Hearts Chapter #270 has local volunteers, heart patients themselves/ and or spouses or family members, who are trained visitors and offer this same gift of hope in partnership with Centra Lynchburg General Hospital, Stroobants Heart Center and Bedford Memorial Hospital.

    One might say “we’ve been there, done that” when it comes to successfully managing the challenges of this often overwhelming disease. We invite any heart patients, family member or caregiver to let us know if we can help -- either through a visit or by attending our regularly scheduled meetings.

    Mended Hearts may be reached locally by calling(540) 586-2506 or nationally at (888) 432-7899 or by visiting the Web site at www.mendedhearts.org  The meetings are held on the third Tuesday of the month at noon in the auditorium at Bedford Memorial Hospital, Oakwood Street, Bedford, VA.  Lunch is provided but phone 587-5462 to reserve one.


Karin Van Wart


Mended Hearts Chapter #270

The great Toyota toe stub

    Let’s weave emotion, fact, fiction and perception together to understand the auto industry. Did not Ford’s advertising in recent years say something like “Our quality matches Toyota”? When “Best Buys” recommendations seem to evade a certain product line, didn’t hope rest on convincing our children they needed a “Hemi” in their life? How did we get to this point?

    Automakers once asked the consumer what they wanted in a car. Safety, practical, reliable we answered. Sales went flat as crash tests and stronger door latches were advertised. “What does your neighbor want in a car?” followed. Glitz, chrome, V-8’s, fins and stuff we answered. Sales soared as equipment and models changed year after year. During this time the original VW bug made improvements and refined the car all year long, a bigger back window being the buzz. Yes, we froze in winter, but we always got there. During this time you “Didn’t want a car built on Monday’s” and “Buy the new model the second year. It takes the first year to get all the bugs worked out” tainted the big three. We, the customer, became part of the “quality control” program. Today’s American car quality is a direct result of import competition, but that’s OK, we got there.

    My family has owned Ford, Mercury, Plymouth, Dodge, Chrysler, Chevrolet and Buick. We have also owned two (original) VW bugs, a micro bus, two Toyota trucks and a car, Mazda Miata and a sedan and Honda’s. OK, scratch Hondas, motorcycles and outboards don’t count. Then there were two Saturns, Oldsmobile, a Studebaker Commander and Nash Rambler. Remember, “This isn’t your father’s Oldsmobile”? Too bad, it was a heck of a car, just ask my wife.

    Today, the big three are on the right track, with Chrysler and GM still in Ford’s rear view mirror. A great blend of quality, stuff and fuel miser features are all available home grown, meeting customer’s expectations/requirements. Toyota’s bump will surely help the big three, an unintended stimulus package. Toyota did a poor job of telling its customers what was going on and when the fix is coming. Exceptional quality still surrounds a gas pedal problem. I didn’t buy the extended warranty with my first Toyota p/u truck. I was told I wouldn’t need it. I didn’t. 200,000 miles later and 150,000 on the T-100, I still haven’t needed it.

    The best kind of a warranty is one you don’t need. So, don’t put the Toyota pedal to the metal till the fix is in. The customer will again purchase cars based on looks, emotion, monthly payments and a smidge more of good common sense. Unlike stocks, past performance is a good indicator of future reliability. A brand name is best kept clean. How long the Toyota scrubbing will take remains to be seen.

Ed Wennerstrom